How theories of practice can inform transition to a decarbonised transport system

Open access version here

Journal of Transport Geography 2012.

In this article, I explore the potential of theories of practice to inform the socio-technical transition required to adequately decarbonise the UK transport system. It develops the concept of ‘systems of practice’ to better enable practice theory to deal with broader processes of change.

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Watson, M. (2012) How theories of practice can inform transition to a decarbonised transport system. Journal of Transport Geography 24: 488-496

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2012.04.002

In this article, I explore the potential of theories of practice to inform the socio-technical transition required to adequately decarbonise the UK transport system. To do so I push existing applications of practice theories by articulating a ‘systems of practice’ approach, which articulates theories of practice with socio-technical systems approaches. After sketching out a theory of practice, I explore the potential of a practice theory approach to illuminate systemic change in transport. I do this by confronting two key criticisms of practice theories; first of their difficulty in accounting for change; second in their limited ability to move beyond a micro-level focus on doing. The counter I offer to these criticisms leads directly into recognising how theories of practice can articulate with socio-technical systems approaches. From this basis, I go on to consider the implications of a practice theory approach for informing interventions to effect a system transition towards decarbonised transport.

 

 

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Author: Matt Watson

A Human Geographer at the University of Sheffield, interested in how everyday human action and social orders make each other, with implications for sustainability and wellbeing. Currently looking at energy including how to tackle demand for it.

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